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Jameis Winston's FSU Hearing Will Take Place In Two Weeks

A Florida State disciplinary hearing for quarterback Jameis Winston will be held the week of Nov. 17th, according to the attorney for the woman who accused Winston of a December 2012 sexual assault. The hearing, conducted by a former Florida Supreme Court chief justice, will determine if Winston violated any of four sections of the university's student-conduct code, two of them dealing with sexual misconduct.

The accuser's attorney said FSU hasn't yet notified him of the specific date, time, and location of the hearing, but told them "we are available and will be ready to go." Winston's attorney, David Cornwell, appeared to confirm the hearing's immediacy in a tweet complaining that he hasn't had enough time to prepare. (In that tweet, Cornwell also made sure to prominently display the name of Winston's accuser.)


The accuser's attorney, John Clune, disputed Cornwell's claim:

"Both parties got the same materials at the exact same time," Clune said. "Also, no complaint was ever 'filed' and there is no such process. A school's Title IX obligations to investigate are triggered by learning of a report of sexual assault, which happened almost two years ago in this case. If Mr. Winston has concerns about why the process took so long, a delay that kept Mr. Winston playing football, he can take that complaint up with Florida State."

In an October 2014 letter on its handling of the investigation, Florida State admitted its athletics department was aware of the accuser's claims in January 2013, but failed to file a report with the university's Title IX department or its Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

The specific student-conduct code violations Winston potentially faces can be read here, in the letter sent to Winston informing him of the hearing. They include statutes mentioning "any sexual act that occurs without the consent of the victim," and "conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for another person."


The hearing will be overseen by retired judge Major Harding, who will make his decision based on the "preponderance of the evidence," the same legal standard used in civil actions and grand jury indictment proceedings.

At the hearing, Harding will be allowed to question Winston, but Winston is under no obligation to answer those questions. Winston was never interviewed by Tallahassee police during their investigation, and according to his accuser's attorney, has not been interviewed by anyone from the university.


Though the hearing will be held with two games remaining in Florida State football's regular season, not even an unfavorable outcome will affect Winston's eligibility. Harding's decision will be delivered in writing some time after the hearing, and the authority for specific discipline rests with the university president and the board of trustees. Even after all of that, Winston or his accuser could appeal the ruling. There's no way this process ends before Winston declares for the NFL draft.

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